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J Clin Pathol 58:254-258 doi:10.1136/jcp.2004.022012
  • Original article

The use of digital imaging, video conferencing, and telepathology in histopathology: a national survey

  1. T Dennis1,
  2. R D Start1,
  3. S S Cross2
  1. 1Department of Histopathology, Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Royal Hospital, Calow, Chesterfield S44 5BL, UK
  2. 2Academic Unit of Pathology, Section of Oncology and Pathology, Division of Genomic Medicine, School of Medicine and Biological Science, University of Sheffield, Beech Hill Road, South Yorkshire S10 2RX, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S Cross
 Academic Unit of Pathology, Section of Oncology and Pathology, Division of Genomic Medicine, School of Medicine and Biological Science, University of Sheffield, Beech Hill Road, South Yorkshire S10 2RX, UK; s.s.crosssheffield.ac.uk
  • Accepted 14 September 2004

Abstract

Aims: To undertake a large scale survey of histopathologists in the UK to determine the current infrastructure, training, and attitudes to digital pathology.

Methods: A postal questionnaire was sent to 500 consultant histopathologists randomly selected from the membership of the Royal College of Pathologists in the UK.

Results: There was a response rate of 47%. Sixty four per cent of respondents had a digital camera mounted on their microscope, but only 12% had any sort of telepathology equipment. Thirty per cent used digital images in electronic presentations at meetings at least once a year and only 24% had ever used telepathology in a diagnostic situation. Fifty nine per cent had received no training in digital imaging. Fifty eight per cent felt that the medicolegal implications of duty of care were a barrier to its use. A large proportion of pathologists (69%) were interested in using video conferencing for remote attendance at multidisciplinary team meetings.

Conclusions: There is a reasonable level of equipment and communications infrastructure among histopathologists in the UK but a very low level of training. There is resistance to the use of telepathology in the diagnostic context but enthusiasm for the use of video conferencing in multidisciplinary team meetings.

Footnotes